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I recently discovered a fairly large (a few hundred wasps, from the look of it) wasp-nest under the eaves on the side of my house.

Anyways, I called a exterminator (Terminix, actually), and they tried to push a year-long maintenance contract on me, and claimed that wasps leave pheremones, and if you don't continually kill them off, they will keep coming back.

In my own research, there is no note of this particular wasp behaviour on wikipedia, and I have actually found a lot of insect-control websites that specifically say wasps don't nest in the same place every year. This makes me think that Terminix may be stringing me along a bit.

Has anyone heard this claim "they will return unless you kill them off repeatedly" statement before, or is it likely that I can deal with it myself with a can of wasp-killer spray?

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Remember that wasps are also beneficial to humans, except for the stinging. Many eat the insects that want to eat your vegetable garden. Can you tolerate them until they leave the nest for winter? –  Jay Bazuzi Sep 9 '12 at 14:43
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Just walk around your house every once in a while, and take care of these things before they get out of control. –  dbracey Sep 9 '12 at 19:39
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I have heard such a claim by exterminators before as well... You inspired me to ask this question on Skeptics –  maple_shaft Sep 10 '12 at 11:31
    
I had to use wasp killer on a few nests in the corner of my backyard fence last year. I sprayed very thoroughly, and didn't see any for the rest of the year. This year they were back in the same spot again. I'm aware that it's only anecdotal evidence, but from my experience they can (maybe by just coincidence) return to the same spot. –  Doresoom Sep 10 '12 at 20:15
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6 Answers 6

up vote 8 down vote accepted

A $3 can of wasp spray will do the trick. Hit them at dusk, soak down the nest. The nest will be empty come morning. Some sprays say on the label that they will repel wasps for a couple of months. I always carry several cans of spray in my truck as I run into them constantly when working on houses. Go get um !!!!

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Well, the can I bought was actually $5.99, but it sure did work. –  Fake Name Oct 20 '12 at 3:35
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I do not believe that wasps return to the same location to nest.

You can deal with removing the nest yourself, or depending on where you live and how cold it gets, you can wait till the winter as they will naturally die when it gets cold.

Here are instructions:

Wasp nest removal is a fairly simple process. Finding the nest usually entails a quick survey for heavy wasp traffic during dusk or dawn, when wasps tend to return to the nest. Once the sun is down for the evening and you've noticed less traffic near the nest, dress yourself with multiple layers of clothing, and find a pair of gloves, just in case. Then, go out to the nest and spray the entrance with any wasp killing agent, like Raid. Spray liberally, but avoid inhaling too much of the poison. Most wasp poisons kill on contact, but it's best to be safe by slowly leaving the area, as sudden movements can attract attention.

Which wasp killer you use depends on where the nest is:

For nests that are located underground, you will want to use a wasp killer that is not labeled as a projectile spray. You want very little spray for yellow jacket nests that are found underground.

For nests that are elevated, you will want to find a can of wasp and hornet killer that is labeled as a projectile spray. This will ensure a stream of wasp poison roughly 15–20 feet in length, allowing plenty of distance to make a quick escape if necessary.

Repeating this process twice or even three times may be necessary until you're certain the nest has been vacated. Once you see that there is no traffic, it's probably safe to knock down the nest if it's an aerial nest, or fill the nest with dirt and gravel if it's in the ground. This should be the end of your wasp problem until the next migration cycle.

source: getridofthings.com

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It's bad enough to have to kill insects, but poisoning them is unnecessary and bad karma.

A good method for moving or exterminating them is to act at dusk or in the earliest part of a cool morning, while they are sluggish or immobile (per other postings). Also, as suggested elsewhere, wear protection.
Take a large (enough) plastic bag and gently envelope the nest with it. Carefully gather the bag opening around the nest attach point. As you pull the nest from its attach point, close the top of the bag and secure it with a knot or bag closure. Then either toss the bag into the trash or else relocate it and open the top, assuming the insects are still inactive.

I've done this several times with wasps, and it works very well.

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First: Karma is not real. –  Fake Name Oct 20 '12 at 3:33
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Second, if you want to come over to my house, get on a ladder, and scrape a hornet's nest off from a hard-to-access cranny under the eaves, so the hornets don't get hurt, you're welcome to. I personally want a solution that won't end up with me dropping an angry hornet's nest on my foot. –  Fake Name Oct 20 '12 at 3:34
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When you throw a closed bag in the trash, I'm pretty sure they die a slow agonizing death (starvation, dehydration, or suffocation). –  BMitch Oct 20 '12 at 11:07
    
+1 on avoiding insecticides. –  mike Oct 2 '13 at 18:20
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Have you given any thought to the karma related to the wasp stings some unsuspecting garbage collector will get while working on your street? –  user14416 Oct 2 '13 at 20:07
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As a retired telco lineman, I had daily encounters with yellow jacket wasps. I used to finish the summer days with wasps' nests past my ankles in the bottom of the bucket. As in bucket truck. We had to deal with them when we we opened the enclosure, and they would be pretty angry due to our invasion of their home in the telco equipment. A couple of tips: always wear glasses that cover the eyes well, as they will try and sting you in the eyes if your eyes are close to their nest. You could use a CO2 fire extinguisher, as it will freeze them and stop their activity.

The statement that the wasps will return, is in a way true, since any good home will again be used by the wasps looking for a place to call their own next year. One thing I did notice over the winter, when working in the splices: the surviving nests were vacant, but if I probed around in the nest I would see a larger wasp, the queen. It seems the queen would survive the winter, and may in fact start a new nest. If you remove the whole nest, and destroy it, this shouldn't be a problem. Make sure you will not fall off a ladder, or fall if being stung, because this has killed utility workers. It is a good idea to have someone on standby if you get stung, since your throat will swell closed, and anaphylactic shock can set in, even if you never had a reaction before. If you don't have help ready, you won't live to tell the tale. It happens quickly and kills, even in urban areas with hospital and ambulances nearby.

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They usually vacate in October/November. I've been watching them come and go all summer in my fascia boards. They do not bother us, I do not bother them.

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-1 not really an answer to the question of will they return or how do you remove them. –  BMitch Oct 2 '13 at 17:51
    
+1 on avoiding insecticides and learning to live with them. –  mike Oct 2 '13 at 18:24
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How to Get Rid of Wasps? 7 Advice that Become Handy

Follow these simple tips on howtotut.com

Good Luck!

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-1 Please see the how to answer section about posting links. –  BMitch Nov 5 '12 at 11:50
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